Stretching course

Lesson 1

6 Guideline Principles for effective stretching

1) Safety

First, you need to understand what is safe for your body and what is not. 

Is not enough to start stretch one's leg over the head.  

You need to know the principle of every single exercise, its biomechanics.

In addition, of course, you need to understand what a healthy limit is for your body depends on your age, body condition, and physical abilities. Anyway, before you stretch you need to warm up very well!

2) Gradualness

It is important to build the level of difficulty gradually according to individual capacity.  This is the way to build good and long last progress.

The training program will change gradually together with your progress then your body may be stronger, harder, and flexible for the next level.

3) Breathing and visualization

Every single exercise you do you should concentrate on your breathing and on the specific part of your body, you are working with right now. Your breath should be deep and calm even if you think it is hard to breathe in this position. Keep calm and continue breathing. It will help your body to get used to the new position.

4) Deportment and Body Posture

Body movement is a straight consequence of its posture. This is why we need to pay maximum attention to our body placement while standing, seating, and of course, while moving!

5) Elongation and Esthetics

Try to reach the maximum range in every single movement. Elongate your legs and arms; make your spine longer in every exercise you do, try to reach more space. This principle is important from the aesthetics side of view and is good to avoid joint pressure as well. When we extend our limbs in fact, we use our muscles to move a bone from the joint a bit to make the effortless big, flow movement and avoid the joint pressure.

Moreover, from the aesthetics point of view- of course, beautiful long lines is what we all wish!

6) Constancy

Our body adapts to the living conditions in which it is located. That is why flexibility often decreases with age. We do not need a lot of body flexibility if we do not need a large range of motion every day! That is why, if you want to achieve a good result and keep it for a long time, you need to train your flexibility daily!

How to avoid the back pain or to stop it 

Most back problems are due to improper body position during movement. How can we know what is the correct position?

 

The habitual position of the body at rest or in movement is posture. Correct posture reduces pressure on the joints and vertebrae. It allows us to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, work on improving posture and technically correct exercise in most cases will help prevent back pain and even recover from injuries.

 

Our body has superficial and deep muscles. The superficial muscles are responsible for the movement of the limbs. The deep muscles trigger many internal processes (for example, respiratory and digestive), and are responsible for body position and balance.

 

In nature, deep muscles are included first during any movement. They are responsible for the correct and safe position of the body during movement.

In animals, they work much better than humans. Therefore, a cat always lands on its feet when it falls. In ancient man, the internal muscles worked much better than in modern humans.

 

Ancient people were closer to nature, were more physically active, and constantly had to adapt to the harsh conditions of their environment - to walk on sand, on sharp rocks and uneven soil, to climb a mountain or a tree. Their body was ready for any surprises.

 

Modern man enjoys all the benefits of civilization, which help make life more pleasant and comfortable, save time and energy, protect from unpleasant surprises of nature. Flat roads, comfortable clothes, and shoes, elevators, cars - all this makes our life much more enjoyable and predictable.

 

Our homes, armchairs, beds, and even ordinary chairs are so comfortable that our bodies should not strain at all most of the day. This is the main reason that in most people today, deep muscles simply atrophy! As a result - excessive load on the spine and injuries.

 

Fortunately, we can prevent these problems with help of special exercises that will help turn on the internal muscles and teach them to work correctly.

Posture muscles

Deep muscles help stabilize our body at rest and while moving.

The center of the body is our weakest point. Bones like our limbs, chest or skull do not protect it. Like our limb, chest trim or skull. This is a serious muscle tone. 

 

Four main muscle groups are responsible for the correct position of the body.

1. Pelvic muscles

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Very thin, but wide muscle tissue that forms the bottom of the pelvic-abdominal cavity.

These muscles contract when a person wants to use the toilet and suffers.

2. Diaphragm muscle

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This is the muscle we contract when you want to “close the ribs”, as well as during exhalation and coughing.

3. Transversus abdominus

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This is the muscle we are a strain to pull in the stomach. It covers the lower abdomen as a wide belt. When this muscle starts to work it also activates the back muscles.

4. Back muscles (Multifidus)

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The muscles that run along the spine and participate in every movement take on a large load and prevent pressure on the vertebrae. Their weakness or malfunctioning can cause problems in the spin

These four muscle groups allow us to achieve the maximum level of possession of our own bodies. When they are activated, intra-abdominal pressure is created (the muscles compress the internal organs and prevent them from moving), thereby stabilizing the body and providing greater body mobility, and reducing the load on the spine and joints.

This is especially important when we talk about achieving a greater range of motion and improved flexibility!

 

Therefore, in every exercise that we do, it is necessary to monitor the correct posture and to do special exercises that will help to activate the stabilizing muscles.

What is the correct posture?

Most back problems are caused by the wrong posture and movement. What is the correct posture?

Posture is the body posture in standing, sitting, and moving. Proper posture reduces the pressure on the body, especially the spine and joints. For this reason, proper exercise and steady improvement can largely prevent back pain and even minimize the consequences of various back injuries. The body has superficial and deeper muscles. The superficial muscles are responsible for the movement of the limbs and the internal muscles are responsible for internal processes in the body and for our posture and balance.

In natural conditions, the internal muscles are the first to come into action in any movement. They are the ones that stabilize the body. For animals, it works much better than for people. That is why the cat, for example, always lands on its feet. In the early man, the stabilizing muscles worked much better than for today's people. He was much closer to nature, was much more active than we were, had to adapt to different environmental conditions - walked on the sand, on rocks, climbed the trees. His body was constantly challenged to any new condition.

However, in civilization people have invented a lot of things that make them easier, keep them away from the challenges of the environment and allow for a more comfortable life - flat floors, shoes, clothes, travel cars, elevators, even our chairs are so comfortable that the body does not have to work hard most of the day. This is why in most people today, the stabilizing muscles started to atrophy! This causes increased pressure on the dorsal vertebrae and injuries.

The correct posture is when the position of your body is straight and there is no overpressure on your spine. The most correct is the natural curves of the spine. The neck is actually a continuation of the spine line. The chest is open. 

The shoulders are laid back and are on the same level.

 

It is very important to monitor your posture constantly: do not stop, straighten your shoulders, pull your stomach in, and keep your head straight.

It is very easy to check your posture when standing with your back to the wall. The head, the shoulders, the lower back, buttocks, the biceps, and the shins, and the heels, should be pinned to the wall. Raise the chin a little bit. Remember the body's feelings in this position. During the exercises, visualize the wall behind your back and try to hold the right posture.

During the day, you should check yourself and try to get back into this position. This will help to improve your posture, reduce unnecessary pressure on the spine joints, and prevent many injuries.

While walking and moving, it is best to move the weight forward as if something is pulling you forward and up, trying to extend your back as much as possible. You will see that this will make each movement easier and much more elegant!

Practice

1. It is easy to check the correct posture if you stand with your back to the wall, pressing firmly against the back of the head, shoulder blades, buttocks, calves, and heels, and slightly raise the chin. During the exercises, we mentally imagine a wall behind our backs and remember what sensations in the body were in this position and try to return to this sensation.

 

During the day, you should periodically exercise self-control, trying to maintain such a pose. This will help improve your posture and significantly reduce the load on the spine, which in turn will help to avoid pain and injury.

While walking and moving, you should carry the weight a little forward, imagining that something is pulling you forward and up, trying to stretch as high as possible. See how much easier you will move, and how much more elegant you will look!

2. We add jumping to daily training. They help to mobilize the whole body and also contribute to the formation of the habit of keeping your back straight because it is almost impossible to jump with your back stooped or with relaxed muscles. Thus, simple jumps at the beginning of a workout help to tone all muscles, warm them up, and prepare them for work.

 

Attention! Jumping is not for everyone! People who already have back or knee injuries should choose a different way of warming up!

3. Exercises in a standing position.

 

Any training should begin with the inclusion of deep stabilizing muscles, as well as the muscles that are located around the spine. They should be “woken up” so that during training these muscles take a load on themselves, preventing excessive load on other parts of the body.

4 actions, including deep muscles: rounding, deflection, tilt, rotation. The order is very important for the gradual and safe inclusion of them.

 

• Rounding-deflection

• Tilt and rotation

4. From a standing position, we rise to the toes, stretch our hands to the ceiling. Alternately, we pull one or the other hand up, stretching the side.

5. Squats on toes slowly down and slowly up. This exercise includes the muscles of the legs, abs, and back. In addition, the work involves the deep muscles around the spine.

Stand up while doing these exercises. Feet together. Weight on the big toes. Seat down slowly, and then stretch. Go up slowly holding your heels together. Repeat 3 times up and down.

6. Hip-wide feet. We rise to the toes and stretch our arms up. Keeping the traction of the spine, we lean forward so that the body is parallel to the floor. Slowly bend and straighten the knees. Put down the heels, put the hands down to the floor, and relax the body. Roll up to the starting position. You can hold the yoga block in your hands for help. Repeat 3-4 times.

7. Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and back.

 

Before proceeding to more intense stretching exercises, you need to make sure that your body is strong enough, and you have enough coordination and strength to control it.

 

Exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Lying on the floor. The lower back touches the floor, legs 90 degrees, arms and shoulders in the air. Hold still for 30 seconds.  You can also add some movements with straight arms to increase the difficulty.

• Second degree of difficulty - holding with straight legs

 

* The third degree of difficulty is holding with straight legs close to the floor and with straight arms above your head.

 

* Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back.

Lying on his stomach, we cross our arms and legs and lift them up. Hold motionless for 30 seconds.

• Change the side

• The same exercise with open arms and legs.

8. Exercises on the knees to control and strengthen the internal muscles.

Starting position - knees under the hips, arms under the shoulders. The back is flat; there is no extension in the lower back. It is important to have a straight line between the head and the lower back. Hands are pushing against the floor, belly tightened, chin slightly raised.

 

Raise one leg to the level of the pelvis, on a parallel to the floor. Raise the leg with a slight movement so that the pelvic bones continue to look at the floor. Keeping your posture! From here, we raise the opposite arm. Move slowly the arm and the leg, without changing the position of the body.

• More advanced stage - reach with your hand to the leg and pull up.

This exercise teaches you to activate and control your internal muscles before moving on to exercises that are more difficult. Repeat 8 times on each leg.

9. Exercise for posture and elongation that mixes the deep posture muscles.

Begin standing with legs tight. Tuck bone to the inside, abdomen inside, shoulders down. Imagine the wall touching us in the back to maintain the correct posture as we did at the beginning of the class.

Take both hands up. Shift weight on one leg. The other leg is straight back. Check that the pelvic and shoulder bones are facing in the same direction. Take inhalation and detach the back foot from the floor. Imagine a straight line from your hands to your back foot. Move the bodyweight forward so that the body reaches a line parallel to the floor.

It is important to maintain equilibrium and length of movement. Reach a parallel line to the floor and hold for 8 seconds. Do 3-4 reps on each leg.

10. Exercise for posture, the strength of leg, and hip opening.

Begin standing in a neutral position. Weight on one leg, a second leg from a bent leg, and turning the knee out. Place the ankle on the hip of the supporting leg.

It is important to pick up the belly, grow on the growing leg, open the knee as much as possible,

Moving hands through the sides up and then down in front of the chest, palm to palm. Settle down. Try to open the knee of the bent leg as much as possible. Hold the position in a static position for a few seconds and then place your hands on the floor. Fold and straighten a supporting leg 3-4 times. Bend your knee again and straighten your back. Press your foot to the floor to stand up.

HOME WORK

1. Read and understand the theoretical part 🤓📖

2. Answer the question:

Why is breathing so important during exercise? 🤔

Why do we change the breathing cycle?

3. Do the practical part.

4. Find some additional jumps in which you feel that the posture muscles are turned on and which help you warm up before training 😀👯♀️

5. Enjoy your home workout 😀

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Tag me then I can see your progress @alisapleskova @ipoleacademy 😘